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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The day the music died

For some of you that title will mean nothing but for others it will bring back a sad memory of 1959 when three rock and roll musician where killed in a plane crash. It is a sad statistic that there have been many musicians killed in plane crashes for many different reasons but the need to get from one gig to another quickly is the bottom line.

In the case of this particular crash it was that fact, bad weather and lack of proper planning that  initiated the decision to hire Roger Peterson, a 21-year-old local pilot in Mason City, Iowa. A fee of $36.00 per passenger was charged and the plane could seat a total of three passengers plus the pilot.
Buddy Holly was the one who arranged the flight so he had already secured his seat but J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson got Waylon Jennings to give him his seat because he had a case of the flu and Ritchie Valens had never flown in a small plane before and asked Tommy Allsup for his seat on the plane......they tossed a coin for it and Valens won the toss.

The plane took off around 12:55 A.M.on Feb. 3, 1959 from Clear Lake, Iowa en route to Moorhead, Minnesota the next tour stop. The pilot had told traffic control he would file a flight plan by radio after their departure and when he did not call and did not respond to calls from them for several hours they reported the aircraft missing. The wreckage was found less than 6 miles from the airport. All had been killed instantly.

Buddy Holly had only been married to Maria Santiogo for 6 months and she was 2 weeks pregnant at the time of the crash,
she lost the baby to a miscarriage as well.
Investigators concluded that the crash was due to a combination of poor weather and pilot error.

This is a signpost near the crash site.

This statue of Holly is found in Lubbock, Texas One of his top hit's was....... That'll be the day

Richie Valens, only 17 years old was the youngest on the flight and became famous with his hit  La Bamba 

J.P. Richardson better know as "The Big Bopper" had many hits but who could ever forget Chantilly Lace

Richardson was survived by his pregnant wife and four year-old daughter. His son, Jay Perry Richardson, was born two months later.

This day of sorrow became "The Day the Music Died" due to the annotated song "American Pie" written and sung by Don McLean 12 years later in 1971. The entire song is a tribute to Buddy Holly and a commentary on how rock and roll changed in the years since his death. McLean seems to be lamenting the lack of "danceable" music in rock and roll and (in part) attributing that lack to the absence of Buddy Holly. A detailed examination of the meaning behind the song can be found here.


Meg said...

I've heard that song a lot, but never really knew what it was about. Thanks for sharing the story, sad as it was. :)

Canyon Girl said...

I didn't know the music of Buddy Holly because I lived in Sweden at the time. But I drove to CA with a friend in a VW bug in early 1972 and American Pie was going 24/7 on the radio. That's how I learned about Buddy Holly and his music and the day it died. I have the Don McLean CD now and play it often. What amazed me in this interesting post is that it was written only 12 years later. It seemed to have been so much longer than that at the time. Great job.--Inger

Farmchick said...

I have heard much about this moment in history through the years. A sad time indeed. Interestesting post by the crash site.

Chatty Crone said...

I was six, but I grew up and learned and read about that story many times.

It was a huge loss to the music industry.


Dawn said...

I didn't even know half of this!!! Thanks for the historical music lesson.

Granny Annie said...

One of my lifetime memories. You documented it well here. I had forgotten that Waylon Jennings was supposed to have been on that flight.

Shammickite said...

1959? WOW, I remember it well, I was 14 and living in England but we heard all about the crash on the radio. I loved the Buddy Holly songs, we used to listen to them on Radio Luxembourg.
Love that signpost near the crash site, very apt.

JeanMac said...

I love the background info you gave of this tragedy. thanks!

Far Side of Fifty said...

He was a heck of a song writer with a vision..I guess the good die young. I was always saddened to hear that his wife miscarried. Great post! :)